Richmond, California Moves Ahead with $1 Billion Refinery Expansion Project

After a two day hearing late last week, the Richmond Planning Commission approved a contentious $1 billion plan to expand a Chevron refinery located in the city. The plan still requires city council approval.

"Chevron Corp.'s long-delayed, $1 billion effort to upgrade its Richmond refinery won the blessings of the city's Planning Commission late Thursday, moving the controversial project closer to construction," reports David R. Baker.

"The commission unanimously certified the upgrade's latest environmental impact report, adopting several safety and pollution-control measures sought by the project's opponents." Chevron began planning the upgrade in 2008.

In an article published last year by George Avalos, Chevron spokesperson Melissa Ritchie describes the expansion project: "The project improves the refinery's ability to process higher sulfur crudes, without changing the refinery's capacity to process crude blends in the intermediate-light gravity range."

Groups like the Communities for a Better Environment, the Asian Pacific Environmental Network, and the California Nurses Association have opposed the project, especially "concerns about the project's expected increases in air pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions…"

California Attorney General Kamala Harris is also opposed—in June she sent a ten-page letter to the Richmond Planning Department criticizing the plan's environmental impact report.

Full Story: Richmond OKs refinery upgrade; Chevron to appeal conditions

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